President Surangel Whipps Jr. on Tuesday scolded members of the media, insisting that they could do a better job of reporting his government’s Blue Prosperity Plan and the Our Ocean Conference.
Instead of highlighting the goal of the “plan,” the president said the media focused its reporting on the #SavemySanctuary campaign.
“I would like to take this opportunity and thank the media for always covering the events with us and also to take this opportunity to say that however, the media’s good work, I think sometime we should provide the whole picture. I notice that we spent the whole week reporting about protesters and other issues while forgetting about the conference,” Whipps said.
The president said the media focused only on one side of the issue, and “the noise it’s generating” but failed to paint a complete picture of the plan’s goal.
The president further lectured the members of the media of its responsibility “to tell the whole story,”
“Because when you don’t put out the whole story you will create confusion. So it’s like we are targeting the fish to bring in and you are scaring it away so we can’t catch it. We have to help each other.”
Whipps urged the media to work with his government to relay the same message and goal.
However, President Whipps’s Blue Prosperity Plan has not been officially released to the media or the public. It was referred to at the press conference held by President Whipps after he returned from his trip overseas, a week before the 7th Our Ocean Conference.
Whipps revealed at that press conference that they had gone to meet partners in the United States to sell the plan, to seek financing for the Blue Economic Business Plan, renamed Palau’s Blue Prosperity Plan.
In his State of the Republic Address (SORA) yesterday, Whipps said the Palau’s Blue Prosperity Plan, is “an innovative approach to achieve a sustainable ocean-based economy.”
He said the plan would replace lost revenue from the closure of a significant portion of Palau’s EEZ and would be a more balanced approach in ocean management than the current PNMS initiative.
“Over the last seven years, Palau has learned many lessons. Palau, in its global and regional leadership role, appeals more than ever for an appropriate balance between protection of our oceans and sustainable production benefitting both people and nature,” Whipps said in his address.
He also thanked the House of Delegates for initiating the conversation on the current PNMS.
The proposal of House of Delegates or specifically House Bill No. 11-30-2S was subject of the Online petition and protests to stop plans of reopening the PNMS.
The house bill had proposed to reopen an additional 50%of Palau’s EEZ to foreign fleets.
While he praised the members of Congress, Whipps admonished the protesters on Tuesday claiming that the protest has confused many of the dignitaries attending the Our Ocean Conference.
“There is an ongoing conference and we are waging protests to the people from foreign lands. However, the demonstration should be about us Palauans, so why are we protesting against the foreigners?
“These foreigners came with the purpose of helping us and up to the last minute words came to me and the minister that these people have concerns about helping us with the plan, as they are now confused asking what’s that going on outside the conference. What is going on in your country,” he added.
In his welcoming speech at the opening of the 7th Our Ocean Conference, President Whipps said, “The demonstrations happening at the margins of this conference reflect Palau’s healthy democracy. We believe in freedom of speech and diversity of ideas. We believe we should always be open to healthy and robust discussion.”